A new website, Glassdoor.com, offers insights into employers, what they're paying and what staff members think of the boss. If, like me, that's too attractive a combination of voyeurism and cash envy to ignore clicking on, have a look and read on.
What do you think? For me, Glassdoor is a nice-looking site with a sensible, uncluttered layout, clear charts and reasonable definitions of job titles. What it's clearly lacking at the moment is the power of a large community. Even the most ranked companies have thin representation. As I write this, there are 133 ratings for Microsoft as employer and 198 salaries, leading to some questionable indicators, most notably in reported salary ranges.
Backing up the age-old suggestion that the more you've got, the less you give away, the numbers are clearly skewed towards junior roles. Do some developers at the world's largest software company really earn just US$76,000 a year basic? The top MS earner who has volunteered his/her wage brings in just $170,000. Call me cynical but I always suspected that would be the sort of compensation available to the people who water and clip the office plants at Redmond, the original home of software squillionaires.
Other companies are significantly less well covered by Glassdoor with Cisco polling just 41 responses and 46 salaries, and the whole site is heavily weighted towards the tech sector.
It's early days of course and Glassdoor will doubtless improve and become more interesting for job-hunters or just the terminally nosey but I'm not convinced that British executives will be happy to provide honest assessments of their status, even though anonymity and privacy are promised. Even if they do, I'm not convinced Glassdoor offers a sound way of representing spikiness in compensation caused by bonus payments or stock incentives.
A man's salary is his report card in life, Jerry Sanders, founder of chip manufacturer AMD once said. Maybe, but not everybody wants to disclose the contents.
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